8 Exercises for a Firm Butt and Thighs

The moves you need to transform problem areas into a perfect posterior

March 4, 2011
woman sitting in a window sill
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Thinkstock

Hit the beach with slimmer thighs and a perkier tush with these exercises from top trainer Rachel Cosgrove, owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, CA. Add a few moves to your workout for an extra booty boost or tackle a total lower-body challenge with the Sculpt a Better Butt Workout.

Strengthen your body and mind with this cardio yoga workout!

woman doing single-leg, single-arm reach
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Beth Bischoff
Single-Leg, Single-Arm Reach

This move is perfect if you're on the go and need a zero-gear move to target your buns and thighs. "This exercise gives the hamstrings and glutes a really good stretch while also strengthening them," says Cosgrove.

Learn how to perform the single-leg, single-arm reach with the Exercise and Workout Finder.

woman's legs
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Beth Bischoff
Facedown Hip External Rotation

Think this exercise looks too easy to be effective? "Just try it," says Cosgrove. "You'll feel a burn pretty quick." Most people spend a lot of time doing exercises that involve forward and backward movements like running, walking, or lunging, says Cosgrove. Instead, the facedown hip external rotation works your muscles through rotational movement, challenging them in a different way and contributing to better muscle balance.

Learn how to perform the facedown hip external rotation with the Exercise and Workout Finder.

Woman's legs w/ resistance band
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Beth Bischoff
Lateral Band Walk

The lateral band walk strengthens your hips and activates your glutes to torch calories and fight fat, says Cosgrove.

Learn how to perform the lateral band walk with the Exercise and Workout Finder.

Woman doing swiss ball hip raise
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Beth Bischoff
Swiss-Ball Hip Raise and Leg Curl

This move boasts a long title but packs a killer lower-body workout. "This exercise is one of the only moves that work the hamstrings through both hip extension and hip flexion," says Cosgrove. What's more, the Swiss ball forces you to stabilize your core for balance, ramping up your potential calorie burn.

Learn how to perform the Swiss-ball hip raise and leg curl with the Exercise and Workout Finder.

Woman doing a bent-knee deadlift
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Beth Bischoff
Dumbbell Bent-Knee Deadlift

Holding a pair of dumbbells in front of the body forces you to engage your glutes to counterbalance the weight, says Cosgrove. This move requires you to lean forward, but be careful not to round your back. Bend from the hips and knees to target your hamstrings and tush.

Learn how to perform the dumbbell bent-knee deadlift with the Exercise and Workout Finder.

Stepup
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Beth Bischoff
Dumbbell Stepup

As far as gym equipment goes, a single step looks unimpressive next to a big, shiny StairMaster--but if your goal is a better booty, opt for the step, says Cosgrove. A StairMaster offers a limited range of motion compared with an adjustable step--the higher the step, the more your glutes get involved. And while the climbing action on the stepper provides great cardiovascular benefits, constantly alternating the leg doing the work never creates enough muscle tension to get stronger, says Cosgrove. When completing the stepup, do all your reps on one leg and then switch sides.

Learn how to perform the dumbbell stepup with the Exercise and Workout Finder.

woman doing back extension on swiss ball
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Beth Bischoff
Swiss-Ball Back Extension

At first glance this looks like a back-strengthening move, but you are actually contracting the glutes to pull your back up. Take note that this isn't an exercise in arching your back. Bend from the hips to benefit your buns.

Learn how to perform the Swiss-ball back extension with the Exercise and Workout Finder.

woman doing a dumbbell straight-leg deadlift
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Beth Bischoff
Dumbbell Straight-Leg Deadlift

This straight-leg variation on the deadlift provides similar benefits to its bent-knee companion. Holding dumbbells in front of your body fires up your glutes, which contract to counterbalance the weight. Unlike the bent-knee variation, this deadlift isolates movement to the hips, working your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.

Learn how to perform the dumbbell straight-leg deadlift with the Exercise and Workout Finder.

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